Today the NCAA passed legislation that will surely have some major ramifications for college sport in the U.S. Just yesterday I discussed some big potential changes in the NCAA. The new legislation as reported by the Division One Board of Directors has many important changes for schools.
First, athletic departments will be able to give up to $2,000 in aide to scholarship athletes who are receiving full scholarships for their playing a sport for a university. This means that schools can choose whether to give the smaller of the full cost of attendance or the $2,000. This means big schools which can afford this have a new recruiting tool, and that is the ability to give more money than smaller schools might be able to. Of course this is only for D-I, so it will be curious to see if there is going to be a major divide with some schools giving the full amount, and others giving less. Notably, this increase doesn’t help athletes who only get partial scholarships, and thus will mostly affect basketball and football programs most likely (though others will benefit as well).
Second, the NCAA has now changed the rules to allow multiple year grants. While the minimum still remains one-year, schools can now offer a multi-year grant to a student athlete. This may be an even more powerful recruiting tool, as currently all student-athletes get only one year grants. By having multiple years, schools will probably now be in a bidding process of trying to offer more guaranteed years to athletes they are going after. The question is whether this might help the smaller and less powerful schools in Division-I. If you have the choice of doing four years guaranteed at Purdue or one year guaranteed at Michigan, the Purdue offer might start to look a lot better. Of course, big schools can give multi-year deals, so the best athletes will probably get multiple multi-year grant offers, it will probably be the mid-range athletes who really get help from these deals.
Clearly these two things can effect not only the strength of teams, but also the overall competitive balance of NCAA sport. The final change I wanted to touch on (there are more than three) is that the NCAA will soon be requiring higher Academic Progress Rates (APR) in order to be able to compete in post-season play. The new numbers would be:
For access to post-season competition in 2012-13 and 2013-14, teams must achieve a 900 multi-year APR or a 930 average over the most recent two years to be eligible.
In 2014-15, teams that don’t achieve the 930 benchmark for their four-year APR or at least a 940 average for the most recent two years will be ineligible for post-season competition.
This would mean several programs may lose the chance at post-season play. Putting this in perspective, if the numbers for 2009-10 don’t change by 2014-15, there will be a number of teams that could not make post-season play. Just looking at Conference USA basketball for example, 6 of the 12 men’s basketball programs have had APR’s low enough that they would not be allowed to play in the postseason.
This last change seems to be putting more emphasis in the “student” in student-athlete.